What Is the Meaning of Flower Lilies?

What Is the Meaning of Flower Lilies? image by audreyjm529/flickr
What Is the Meaning of Flower Lilies? image by audreyjm529/flickr


Lilies have long been revered as a symbolic flower. The lily is the birth flower for the month of May and is often used in both funeral and wedding bouquets.


Ancient Greeks believed the lily sprang from the spilled breast milk of the goddess, Hera. As many varieties of lily have been developed, the original meaning of innocence and purity has expanded.


Several garden and florist's plants are considered lilies. These include the traditional oriental or Asian lilies that are grown from bulbs, including the American hybrid Stargazer, The Easter or Madonna lily (also a bulb but of a different variety) lily of the valley, perennial daylilies and Peruvian lilies (alstroemeria).


Traditional white lilies are a symbol of youth, innocence and virginity but also of motherhood. Easter lilies represent the Virgin Mary. Yellow lilies symbolize happiness, while orange carries wealth, pride and hatred among its attributed meanings. Lily of the valley symbolizes a return of happiness, daylilies traditionally stand for coquettishness and the Peruvian lily represents devotion.


Fun Fact

Stargazer lilies are one of the most popular flower choices for both bridal bouquets and funerals. White stargazers carry many of the traditional meanings of other while lilies but have also come to symbolize sympathy. Pink stargazers are representative of wealth and prosperity, as well as sensuality.

Fun Fact

The three petals of the lily are said to represent the Holy Trinity in all its forms but most often as Father/Son/Holy Ghost or Spirit/Mind/Body.


  • The Meaning of Flowers: A Garland of Plant Lore and Symbolism from Popular Custom and Literature; Claire Powell; 1977
  • The Language of Flowers; Margaret Pickston; 1968

Who Can Help

  • The Doorway to Symbolism
  • Flower Meanings
Keywords: lily, lily of the valley, meaning, stargazer, types of lilies

About this Author

Jessica Ferguson writes mainly on gardening, organic gardening, small and urban farming and homesteading (including beekeeping and chickens), nature and cooking. She is a freelance writer for Demand Studios and Suite101. Other interests include Middle-Eastern food and dance, literature, home improvement and decor, and music.

Photo by: audreyjm529/flickr

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